October 30, 2009

Glenn Beck unveiled his master conspiracy theory yesterday on his Fix News show, essentially claiming the Obama Administration is conspiring to control the media and bring everyone under government control. A key to this, he claimed, was its advocacy of Net Neutrality -- since, as we've already observed, Beck prefers corporate control of your content to government regulations preventing such control.

He displayed just how well he understands these Intertoobs things, too:

Beck: Anyway, you may remember, FreePress is the group pushing for Net Neutrality, which would take the Internet out of the private hands of private business and into the hands of the government. It would create a level playing field. It would help diversity. It would destroy the free market that created the Internet.

Yeah, that sounds real scary Glenn. Except, of course, that the "free market" didn't "create the Internet". It was, in fact, originally a creation of those things that Glenn Beck hates so much: a government program. As Wikipedia explains:

The origins of the Internet reach back to the 1960s when the United States funded research projects of its military agencies to build robust, fault-tolerant and distributed computer networks. This research and a period of civilian funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation spawned worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies and led to the commercialization of an international network in the mid 1990s, and resulted in the following popularization of countless applications in virtually every aspect of modern human life.

Sure, the "free market" has played the most significant role in the massive expansion of the Internet since those origins, but it didn't "create" the Internet.

Meanwhile, Beck has yet to explain how regulations constraining the mega-corporations that provide our Internet infrastructure from deciding what content we can and can't access would actually take the system "out of the private hands of private business".

Maybe Beck can explain to us why Comcast was attacking peer-to-peer file sharing on its network system.

Maybe he can tell us why Verizon Wireless was able to deny a pro-choice group access to its text service.

Because those are, you know, actual issues involving real free speech -- not just imagined possible hypothetical scenarios wargamed out by that crack Glenn Beck Research Team.

If Beck were serious about defending not just free speech but freedom of thought, he'd be fully in favor of Net Neutrality. But he's not.

Though we already knew that.

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